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Friday, December 2nd, 2022, 5:37 pm

Resigning Was the Belated and Necessary Moral Choice

Video download link | md5sum b592f88498af1b6093b6cc3fffbb8a02
Why I Left My Job Today
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: One very important (and perhaps lifelong) lesson learned in my last job is that clients and agenda can change rapidly as a result of rotation in management and a loss of moral compass; it’s critical to check not only what employer one works for but who the upstream and downstream entities are (their nature can change for the worse when the employer becomes desperate and neglects ethics in pursuit of money)

IN INDUSTRY, there is a chain of suppliers and providers. Microsoft, for instance, gives “products” and provides “services” to companies, governments, militaries and so on.

In the case of the company where I worked (until today), we had provided services for companies in the private sector and many in the public sector too.

For software development firms, there are typically “users” or firms/people who purchase the software, license it etc.

What about the morality of those whom you provide for? Never mind suppliers, though that’s an important but separate subject (for firms that resell things and fund potentially unethical suppliers).

When Microsoft bought GitHub many employees left as they refused to work for Microsoft. Not too long afterwards many left GitHub (both users and employees) because of the ICE controversies (Microsoft insisted that GitHub should supply “services” to ICE). It quickly became a major crisis of brain drain (one colleague followed another, leaving GitHub with a lack of geeks, sort of like in Twitter last month) and Microsoft resorted to planted/seeded distractions in the media (“Arctic Vault”) in order to change the news cycle.

Today, a Friday, I officially left my job. The video above explains some of the background but future videos will delve into the lessons learned, not just based on personal experience. Many of the underlying issues seem rather common and they’re worth explaining in a generalised way that many people can relate to and study when assessing potential employers.

For instance, do people walk into a job interview and ask who the suppliers/providers are? Or who the buyers/users are? Maybe they should. Also check if management actually understands the products/services offered. If not, that’s a big red warning sign.

In my personal case, the chain has changed profoundly. Instead of spreading Free software there was a bunch of stuff like AWS being promoted. Instead of working for public sector clients (very ethical and moral agencies whose functions service to protect the vulnerable people) we started to accept business from objectionable groups. Merely pointing out such problems was framed as the real problem. That transition led to tensions and confrontations, culminating in resignation. It had been planned for months.

“He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.”

Benjamin Franklin

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